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THIS PAGE GIVES YOU INFORMATION ON HOW AND WHEN TO HARVEST
VEGETABLES, SPECIAL HARVEST PREPARATIONS AND STORAGE REQUIREMENTS, AND APPROPRIATE LENGTH AND KINDS OF STORAGE.
THE FOLLOWING TERMS ARE USED FOR YOUR EDUCATION: LIGHT FREEZE; 28-32 DEGREES F, MODERATE FREEZE: 24-28 DEGREES , SEVERE
FREEZE: LESS THAN 24 DEGREES F.
storage conditions for many vegetables are not attainable around the average home or farm. It is important, to recognize the
limitations of the best storage available.
Refrigerators can be used for storage. If two are available,
one can be kept at a cold temperature (32-40 degrees) and the other at a cool temperature (45-50 degrees). REMEMBER
also that frequent opening of the refrigerator door raises the temperature inside.
Basements are also possible storage places. Temperatures in most heated (air-conditioned
) basements will usually be 65 degrees F or warmer in summer and 60 degrees F or cooler in winter. Unheated basements, if
well ventilated, can provide good storage conditions for some vegetables.
Different vegetables require different temperature and humidity levels for proper storage.
CORN CROP AT MARY'S HOMESTEAD
BASIL CAN BE GROWN
IN THE GARDEN OR IN POTS. WE BRING THEM IN THE HOUSE IN THE WINTER AND PUT THEM UNDER THE LIGHTS. FROST WILL KILL THE BASIL.
I HAVE ONE BASIL PLANT THAT I HAVE USED FOR 8 YEARS.
HARVESTING: Cut both leaves and buds when the buds appear. The leaves are edible cooked or fresh. Pinching
off the blossoms keeps the leaves growing. If you do not pinch the buds it will seed and then die. It is good
to harvest the basil every week. Basil is good to plant near the tomato plants as it keeps the bugs away. I put basil
leaves in a vase in the kitchen with no water. The aroma in the kitchen is wonderful.
Leaves will keep in the refrigerator for serveral days, frozen ones for 6
months. You do have to dry the basil quickly. I dry my herbs in a dark hallway and put the herbs in a brown paper sack. I
hang the herbs from the ceiling or use tape to tape the sacks to the wall.
USING BASIL: IT IS
GREAT FOR ITALIAN DISHES. I am Italian and I use it with tomatoes, peppers, eggs, cheese, soups, stews, green beans,
and salad dressings.
Bean pods will be most tender when the small seed inside is 1/4 normal size. The pods become more fibrous
as the beans mature. Harvest before the pods begin to swell because of the developing bean seeds inside. Store green beans
up to one week in perforated plastic bags in the warmest part of the refrigerator . I can green beans and pickle
them. I dry them and they are wonderful in the winter stews or soups.
BEETS take COLD, MOIST STORAGE, 32-40 degrees F. 90-95 relative humidity.
Beets begin harvest when the beet is 1 inch in diameter or smaller for baby
beets. Main harvest is when the beets are 2-3 inches. Tender tops make excellent greens regardless of the size of the root
ball. Harvest spring-planted beets before the hot weather(july). Harvest fall beets before the first moderate freeze. For
storage , wash roots, trim the tops to 1/2 inch, place in perforated plastic bags and store in the refrigerator, cold
moist cellar or pit. storage life is 2 to 4 months in the root cellar . I can beets, pickle them, freeze them and I save the
beet juice. If I have enough I can or freeze the beet juice. It can be used in drinks by mixing in another kind of fruit juice.
I use the beet juice in stews and soups, or gravies. I never throw anything away. I save as much as I can. It does help to
do this with the price of the groceries at todays price. The fresh beet juice made from the heirloom seeds has
a old-fashioned garden flavor that is better than what you buy.
COOL, MOIST STORAGE,
32-40 DEGREES F. 90--95 % RELATIVE HUMIDITY.
Harvest terminal head while florets are still tight and of good green color. Smaller side heads will develop.
Store in a perforated plastic bags for up to one week in the refrigerator. Freeze any surplus. Best quality will be
found in shoots that are harvested during cool weather.
I dry broccoli. That is about all the preparedness that you can do with it. The USDA does not recommend that
you can it. I love dried broccoli for cream soups and casseroles.
CABBAGE, COOL MOIST
STORAGE, ( SAME AS ABOVE)
the heads are solid. Remove loose outer leaves. Store cabbage in the refrigerator, cold cellar or outdoor pit in plastic bags
for up to 2 months. When you harvest the cabbage, be sure and pull the entire plant and harvest in a cool place. I
dry cabbage and I use it in stews , soups and casseroles for the winter. Recipes for cabbage are: coleslaw, cabbage
au gratin, and creamed cabbage.
Harvest the cucumbers before the
seeds become half-size. This will vary with the variety. Most varieties will be 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 5-8
inches long. Store the slicing cucumbers in the warmest part of the refrigerator (45-50 degrees). Place in a plastic
bag. Storage life is about one week. Pickling cucumbers should be cooled quickly in ice water and can be kept up to 2 days
in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. I pickle cucumbers and make relish. You can also dry them and use them for salads.
Harvest sweet corn when the kernels are plump and tender. Silks
will be dry and kernels filled. Check a few ears for maturity: Open top of the ear and press a few kernels with your
thumbnail. If milky juice exudes, it is ready for harvest. Harvest at peak of quality, husk to conserve space, and store in
plastic bags for no more than 2 days in the refrigerator. The new super sweet varieties will store for a week or more. Freeze
or can the corn. You can also dry it. Baby corn may be harvested just as the silks emerge, before the ear is 3 inches
Harvest spring carrots before hot weather.(July).
Baby carrots may be harvested when the roots are 3 inches long. Fall-planted carrots should be moderate freeze. For storage,
wash roots, trim tops to 1/2 inch. Place in the refrigerator, cold moist cellar or pit. Storage life is 2-4 months.
With a heavy layer of mulch, carrots may also be overwintered outdoors in the ground. Carrots can be canned, dried,
and pickled. If you do not have a garden carrots are a vegetable that I have had much success with buying at the grocry store.
Now they have many organic carrots that are wonderful in your stews and soups. The farmers markets are also another
option for you. Farmers markets are open from May to October.
ENDIVE ( ESCAROLE): Harvest whole plant,
Wash thoroughly to remove soil and sand. Gather leaves together and tie with rubber band. Store in a plastic bags in the refrigerator
for up to 3 weeks.
semi-head and leaf lettuce can be stored for up to 2 weeks in a perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator. Individual leaves
may be harvested at any stage of development before the plants bolt(go to seed). For best quality, successive plantings at
two-week intervals are suggested.
Parsley will overwinter if planted in a protected place such as a cold frame. If planted in the open. It can be carefully
lifted with a ball of soil just before the soil freezes, POTTED AND TAKEN INTO THE HOUSE IN A COOL, SUNNY ROOM AND HARVESTED
FOR SEVERAL WEEKS. Parsley leaves will keep in a plastic bags in the refrigerator for about one week. Parsley can be preserved
by freezing it. It is very delicious in your canning recipes. It gives them a beautiful color that blends with the other vegetables.
LIMA BEANS: Harvest when
the pods have filled. For tender limas, harvest when a bit immature; for "meaty" limas, harvest when mature. Shelled
limas can be stored in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator for about a week. Surplus limas can be canned or
GARDEN PEAS: Harvest
when the pods have filled. For tender limas, harvest when a bit immature; for "meaty" peas, harvest when mature.
Unshelled peas can be kept in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for about a week. Freeze or can surplus. Oriental
or snow pea types are harvested when the pods are full-sized but before the peas inside begin to swell. Edible podded or snap
peas are harvested when the pods have filled out but before the peas inside become starchy.
Harvest when the fruits are nearly fullgrown, but the color is still bright. Eggplants are not adaped for long storage.
Keep in the wrmest part of the refrigerator (45-50 degrees) for about a week.
OKRA IN MARY'S HOMESTEAD GARDEN
OKRA: Harvest okra pods when they are 2-3 inches long. Over-mature pods are woody; Store in plastic bags in the warmest
part of the refrigerator for about one week. OKRA is the greatest vegetable to dry. I like it in stews, soups in the winter.
You may also freeze, or can it.
SWEET PEPPERS: Harvest when the fruits are firm and full size. If red, yellow
or other colored fruits are desired, leave on the plant until mature color develops. Mature peppers will be sweeter than green
peppers. Sweet peppers can be stored for 2-3 weeks in the warmest part of the refrigerator in plastic bags.
COLD, MOIST STORAGE
(32-40 DEGREES F, 90-95 RELATIVE HUMIDITY).
RADISH, AND TURNIPS
(IRISH): Harvest in July when the tops have yellowed or died. Do not leave in the ground exposed to high soil temperatures
from the sun. Wash the potatoes and remove the diseased or damaged ones. Cure for about a week in a shaded, well ventilated
place (open barn, shed, garage).Avoid exposing tubers to light . Store in a cool place as possible at this time of year. You
are not likely to find ideal storage conditions(40 degrees F. 85-90) percent relative humidity) at this time of the
year other than
cold storage. Cool basements are probably the best storage available. Keep humidity high and provide good ventilation. Storage
time is 2-4 months.
RADISH: Harvest when 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Wash the roots,
trim both taproot and tops and store in plasic bags in a refrigerator for up to a month. Winter or black radishes are stored
the same as carrots.
TURNIPS: Turnips can be harvested from the time they are 1 inch in diameter. They are
best as a fall crop and can withstand several light freezes. Store the same as carrots. Turnip greens may be harvested and
used the same as beet greens.
CANTALOUPE (MUSKMELON) Harvest when the stem slips easily from the fruit.
Lift the melon; if ripe it should separate easily from the vine. Store ripe melons in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for
up to 10 days. Try a few boxes of frozen melon balls.
SUMMER SQUASH: Harvest when the fruit
is young and tender. Skin shold be easily penetrated with the thumbnail. Store for up to a week in a perforated plastic bag
in the refrigerator.
DRY STORAGE, (55-60 degrees F, 60-70 percent relative humidity).
PUMPKINS, WINTER SQUASH: Harvest pumpkins and winter squash when the
skin is hard and the colors darken. Both should be harvested before frost. Remove the fruit from the vine with a portion of
the stem attached. Store on shelves in a single layer so the air can circulate around them.
WARM, MOIST STORAGE,(55-60 degrees,
F.( 60-70 percent relative humidity).
TOMATO: Ripe tomatoes
will keep for a week at 55 to 60 degrees F. Green, mature tomatoes, harvested before frost, should be kept at a temperature
between 55 and 70 degrees F. For faster ripening, raise temperature to 65 to 70 degrees f. Mature green tomatoes should approach
normal size and have a whitish green skin color. Keep (mature green tomatoes from 3 to 5 weeks by wrapping each tomato in
newspaper and inspecting for ripeness each week. Do not store tomatoes in the refrigerator.
SWEET POTATOES: Harvest in fall before the frosts and freezing temperature. Handle carefully
in the digging process. Cure for one week at temperature of 89 to 85F. Ideal storage is at 55 degrees F and 85 percent relative
humidity. (This might be accomplished in a basement with ventilated boxes covered with periodically moistened burlap sacks.)